If a student discloses sexual misconduct to an employee (other than the University chaplain or Counseling Center staff), but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, Pepperdine must weigh that request against the obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the student reporting the incident. If Pepperdine honors the request for confidentiality, the reporting student must understand that Pepperdine's ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator may be limited.
Although rare, there are times when Pepperdine may not be able to honor a reporting student's request in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students. Pepperdine has designated the Title IX Coordinator for Students to evaluate requests for confidentiality once an employee is on notice of alleged sexual misconduct. When weighing a student's request for confidentiality or that no investigation or discipline be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator for Students will consider a range of factors, including the following:
- whether there have been other sexual misconduct complaints about the same alleged perpetrator;
- whether the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;
- whether the alleged perpetrator threatened further sexual misconduct or other violence against the student or others;
- whether the sexual misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
- whether the sexual misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon;
- whether the reporting student is a minor;
- whether the University possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual misconduct (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
- whether the reporting student's report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.
The presence of one or more of these factors could lead Pepperdine to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue disciplinary action. If none of these factors are present, Pepperdine will likely respect the reporting student's request for confidentiality.
If Pepperdine determines that it cannot maintain a student's confidentiality, Pepperdine will inform the reporting student prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling Pepperdine's investigation and response. Pepperdine will remain mindful of the student's well-being, and will take ongoing steps to protect the student from retaliation or harm and work with the student to create a safety plan. Retaliation against the reporting student, whether by other students or Pepperdine employees, will not be tolerated. Pepperdine will also:
Assist the student in accessing other available victim advocacy, academic support,
counseling, disability, health or mental health services, and legal assistance both
on and off campus;
Provide other security and support, which could include issuing a no-contact order, helping arrange a change of living or working arrangements or course schedules (including for the alleged perpetrator pending the outcome of an investigation) or adjustments for assignments or tests; and
Inform the student of the right to report a crime to campus or local law enforcement – and provide the student with assistance if the student wishes to do so.
Pepperdine will not require a reporting student to participate in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding.
Because Pepperdine is under a continuing obligation to address the issue of sexual
misconduct campus-wide, reports of sexual misconduct (including anonymous reports)
will also prompt Pepperdine to consider broader remedial action – such as increased
monitoring, supervision or security at locations where the reported sexual misconduct
occurred; increasing education and prevention efforts, including to targeted population
groups; conducting climate assessments; and/or revisiting its policies and practices.
If Pepperdine determines that it can respect a student's request for confidentiality, Pepperdine will also take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist the students.